Family turtle conservation holidays


When it comes to family volunteering holidays, sea turtle conservation trips are some of the best projects out there. The general recommendation is for children to be aged eight or above – although parents know their children best, and depending on the location, some projects may be able to accommodate children as young as five. Daily – and nightly – tasks are the same, whatever your age, so kids will be out patrolling the beach, measuring turtles, marking nests and gathering up eggs, which is fabulous – as they really are playing an essential role in protecting the turtles. Do bear in mind that you are not going to be living in luxury – something that children may take to naturally, although anxious parents may fret about more. But the simplicity of life by the beach means that the lessons learned here are not all about conservation – children will learn about life in rural communities in the developing world, and that tablets and TVs are not the only form of entertainment.



Staying with a host family in Thailand, for example, will be a huge eye opener for children as they enjoy a real immersion into local life. They can eat local food, learn a few words of the local language, and experience a way of life totally different to their own. As a bonus, local families benefit financially from the presence of the volunteers – giving them extra incentive to protect the turtles. Everyone wins!
Turtles nest in pretty wild and remote areas – so there are often opportunities to observe and learn about other wildlife when you’re it. Costa Rica’s Pacuare Reserve is a great example; the boat ride to the reserve is a jungle safari, where you may spot sloths, caimans and spider monkeys along the banks.
Meeting local children will likely happen in any project located near to a local community – but especially in projects where volunteers lead sessions in local schools, or where local school children enjoy educational visits to the projects to learn about the work being carried out. It’s a fascinating opportunity for local children – and their young visitors.



Anne Smellie, from our leading family turtle conservation holidays supplier, Oyster Worldwide, shares her tips for volunteering with children:
“Our Costa Rica project is more popular with families because it’s fabulous for the kids to be helping out with tagging and measuring the turtles, collecting the eggs – they can really feel that they’re a part of it. The trips are tailored so the families get the best patrol times so that the kids get the best night’s sleep. Sometimes dad will stay with the kids and mum will go out on the patrol, and then when she comes back he’ll go out and the kids will have a night off, that sort of thing. But quite often, if the parents suggest that the kids have a night off, they’re just adamant that they do not want a night off, which is quite funny.”
“You know your kids best but we’d recommend a minimum of five years of age for being able to get involved in this project. And in Thailand it’s eight. We have those recommendations in place for them to come away with an understanding of things. We have had people wanting to come with six month old babies before – and we’ve said no. But we had a child who was four and a half and she absolutely loved it, so it depends on the families as well. If kids are raised to be really hardy and have maybe grown up on a farm or always gone camping, or this sort of thing, then it’s no great transition. But for some younger families it would be a lot more challenging.”
If you'd like to chat about turtle conservation holidays or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
01273 823 700
Photo credits: [Family top box: Oyster Worldwide] [Activities box 1: ShashiBellamkonda] [Activities box 2: Sean Murray] [Activities box 3: Frontierofficial]
Written by Vicki Brown
Turtle conservation in Costa Rica

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Photo credits: [Page banner: Isabella Jusková]